Sourcing partial door skins

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CopperNick

Apprentice
Feb 20, 2018
52
18
Canada
As with most projects, one of the biggest line items is the body. in my case it is the door skins for my 1985 Monte Carlo SS. Basically this car saw a lot of use and abuse before I managed to purchase it and one of the most abused items was the doors. I have options, I can score complete door shells or I can try to reskin them. Reskinning might be simpler but, one door doesn't really need that level of repair and the other door, well I could go that route but I am looking for something slightly simpler. What I am trying to find is a partial door skin. By this I mean a section of material that would consist of the lower section of the skin, starting at the sponson or that raised strip along the door and drop down to the lower edge where it returns around the inner skin. I have seen panels like this in the past but am having no luck in location who sold them or if they are still available. And yes, I could try to scare up a good used door but would have to find them from south of the Mason-Dixon line as anything north of that is rust belt territory and apt to be just as bad as what I am trying to repair. Any Ideas??

Nick
 
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Doug Chahoy

Royal Smart Person
Nov 21, 2016
1,188
113
I’d have to say that it depends alot on your abilities, and equipment. Do you have a welder? Is the inside of the door any good to be able to weld to. It COULD turn into a major project. Usually does. I’ve done quite a few door rehabs over the years, it can even be done without removing the door if you have welding blankets to cover the car. Even with my abilities, I’d opt for new or perfect salvage. With new though you never know the quality/fit of manufacture. With salvage, you can’t see whats there or if the door sagged due to a bad hinge for 25 years and bent the door where the hinge mounts. Don’t mean to confuse or scare you off of either option, just want you to be more informed.
 
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CopperNick

Apprentice
Feb 20, 2018
52
18
Canada
Appreciate the reply and the points you raise are both valid and ones that I have encountered in the past. I do have and use a MIG but, because of location, much of what I do is 220 FCAW, or flux core. My Lincoln can be shifted over to gas without too much effort but I do more structural work and prefer the flux core for that. I know, I know, get another welder; $$$$ (LOL) The driver's door inner skin is useable but would need, preferably, the bottom section replaced; they are available as a repair item. However, once I do that, then I would have to do the whole outer skin. In moving that door today, I noticed that there is damage to the skin above the belt line. It could be hammer and dollied or shrunk out but there is the small matter of the side impact barrier getting the road of accessing all the bumps and bruises. Welding blankets? Yep, got those. Needed them to drape the dash and passenger door while swapping in a new driver's floor pan. I do hear you about the sagging door; had not thought about that because most of the salvage doors that show up here are rusticles. My existing hinges are in good shape with good pins and bushings. Before I dropped the door out, I made sure it was aligned correctly and drilled the hinges with a 1/8 bit to give me alignment holes for the install. My bike lift gives me a crane for the initial lift and preliminary install. Back to the topic of replacments, I do have a local source that has a couple of wrecks sitting in his yard. Unfortunately he also has a beef going with the city about zoning for commercial purposes so all of his inventory is presently inaccessible. Two new complete door shells, LH, and RH will set me back about a grand. It's the shipping that bites. A late model swap meet or parts swap fair like the rodders do would be sweet but again, gotta travel to hit those. Thanks for the input.


Nick
 
Ribbedroof

Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
2,900
113
Wellston, OK
Can partial panel replacement be done? Yes, but it's more work than just skinning the whole thing. This also allows you to clean/repair/prep the area where the original skin was hemmed. There is almost ALWAYS rust in there.

I'd use panel bond to attach the new skins (this also seals out corrosion) , and after the car is painted, use some cavity wax to prevent problems years from now. This is how we do them today in collision work.
 
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CopperNick

Apprentice
Feb 20, 2018
52
18
Canada
Yeah, further inspection of that door panel is showing me more damage and work that at first glance. The whole skin idea is probably going to end up being the way to go, mostly because it seems that no one offers a partial panel anymore. Got 'em for fenders and quarter panels but not doors. Panel Bond?? Is that that adhesive that 3M offers? Two tubes, common mixer/nozzle with sort of a screw up the middle, you pump and when the goo hits the end it is completely and correctly mixed? That stuff? Did panel bonding on a P/U for a friend and it seemed to work out okay, accepted filler afterwards without a problem. Mostly cab corners. As for the not so small matter of rust in the bottom seam, may still end up doing a bottom inner skin panel; found them offered by one of the onsite vendors. Using that would give me the correct bends and holes for the door gaskets and seam face for the new skin. As almost always, this just shifted from a minor problem to a high zoot $$$$$ pay out May still try to score a used door from a yard if I can down past the rust belt border line. Maybe spring...…..

Nick
 
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Doug Chahoy

Royal Smart Person
Nov 21, 2016
1,188
113
I’ve only once used a patch panel. I’ve always made my own inner and outer pieces. Duck bill vise grips, angel iron and a vice do a good substitute for a brake. I totally agree with bonding adhesives, I even bought the gun for the larger cartridges.
 
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CopperNick

Apprentice
Feb 20, 2018
52
18
Canada
By the numbers: First, yeah, have gone the make it yourself route for panels, typically the inner rocker panel which is almost never sold premade and is usually in about as dead a condition as the outer ones are.

Second: actually managed to find those partial panels I mentioned. Dixie Restoration offers them along with the complete skins. Would still have to deal with the rest of the lumps and bumps though.

Yeah, panel bond. Appreciate the suggestion of the 3M version Do not recall whose product we used on that truck; it was the owner that purchased the product, I just did the prep and install of the panel. Do remember that it took more time than advertised for it to set. Think the ambient temp may have played a role there, this was an out in the driveway exercise.

Short story: Encountered a couple of old school bodymen that used to run a shop locally. Whenever they ran into bonded panels during the course of rust repair, the first thing they would do is cut away all the damage and prep the site for a new panel. Once the new panel had been fitted into position and any tweaks taken care off, they would warm up the Mig and weld the new panel in!! Can't do this now with plastic and composite and aluminum panels being the new normal but the inside running joke was what the look on the next body man's face would be when he/she found that they had to deal with a welded panel. Hey, they were panel beaters, I didn't confess to understand what made them laugh; ya hadda be there.
 
Ribbedroof

Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
2,900
113
Wellston, OK
The downside to welding is the corrosion on the backside, that is often very difficult to access to prep and coat.Also almost impossible to access inside for a proper butt weld, which will require planishing the weld.

This is a strong case for complete skin replacement, and will be quicker/better repair
 
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